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BULLETIN: Nov. 9, 2015 — A return to Cold War athletics, literally

This morning, a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency has implicated the Russian Federation in a systematic scheme to facilitate the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

According to many sources, the scheme involved not only covering up test results, but keeping results out of the public eye through subterfuge, political pressure, and, in extreme circumstances, illegal blackmail.

At the heart of this episode is the president of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, Lamine Diack, who was arrested last week on charges that he accepted a bribe of a million euros to falsify results, especially for Russian athletes including marathoner Liliya Shobukhova, whose bribe — and refund thereof after receiving a two-year ban last year for doping — is also at the center of the investigation.

One of the tri-authors of the report, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, had this to say:

This report is going to be a real game-changer for sport. Unlike FIFA, where you have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets, here you potentially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets, through extortion and bribes, but also caused significant changes to actual results and final standings of international athletics competitions. This is a whole different scale of corruption than the FIFA scandal or the IOC scandal in respect to Salt Lake City.

The news detail which should give you pause is this: the results have been turned over to Interpol for follow-up as a criminal matter.

In other words, the governing body of Olympic sport is Russia is being seen as a criminal element.

The numbers do not lie: in 2013, Russia had 225 doping violations, or 12 percent of all of the athletes that were actually caught. Here’s a list of the top “Dirty Dozen” violators, per a WADA report from June of this year:

Russia 255
Turkey 188
France 108
India 95
Belgium 94
Italy 83
Spain 63
Poland 55
Kazakhstan 46
South Africa 46
United States 43
Portugal 40

Of course, the United States, with its First World resources and massive sports development structure in most Olympic events, doesn’t exactly have clean hands. But it is instructive to note that, when you break down Russia’s violators into sporting categories, they had more violators (57) in sports other than track & field, powerlifting, weightlifting, wrestling, cycling, and swimming than the sum total of American violations in 2013.

Keep an eye on this story going forward. If bribery isn’t going to shake the Olympic ivory tower people out of their stupor, corruption in its most prominent event will.


1 Comment»

[…] Yesterday morning, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released its response to the allegations found here. […]

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